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Fallen officer's friends, family seek to honor police in 5K

Sep 01, 2015 06:02PM ● Published by Rhett Wilkinson

Left to right, Dayson Johnson, Seth Penrose, Addy Johnson and Desirae Payne as superheroes July 2014 at Draper Days. Derek Johnson, a friend and family member, on Sept. 2013 was shot and killed. Photo courtesy Dayson Johnson

Draper - Police officers are probably more unappreciated than ever.

That’s what Desirae Payne believes, and that’s why she is particularly excited about the Third Annual Fallen Officer Superhero Run 5K.

Payne’s brother Derek Johnson was shot and killed Sept. 1, 2013, in Draper. Two months later, Derek’s family put on the first event.

The 5K will start at 9 a.m. Sat., Sept. 12 at Corner Canyon High School in Draper. Runners are encouraged to dress as superheroes “to honor those heroes that don’t wear capes, but serve our communities thanklessly,” Payne said.

“There is so much controversy about police officers in the media,” Payne said. “We are pretty close to police officers. They feel pretty unappreciated and really criticized for everything they do. We want them to know that we appreciate their service in the community and for those who given the ultimate sacrifice.”

All of the proceeds will be donated to the Utah Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, a non-profit organization that provides local assistance to families that have lost an officer in the line of duty. COPS helped Derek’s family travel to Washington, D.C., in May 2014, when his name was placed on The Wall for the Fallen.

Children of police officers can participate for free with the registration of at least one adult.

“We don’t want it to be a super-sad event,” Payne said. “This is our way of giving back to the community that was very gracious to us.”

The 5K committee each year chooses five police officers that have died and places their name along each mile marker. Fallen officers honored this year are Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie, Deputy Brian Harris, Officer Joshua Yazzie, Sergeant Franco R. Aguilar and Officer Charles B. Skinner.

Learn about registration and more at fallenmemorialrun.com.

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